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Project Of Philosophy And Law

Read the case State v. Ransom (pp.  411-425).  Consider your verdict.  Prepare a document that expresses your deliberation that justifies your vote of guilty or not guilty.  The goal is not simply a writing assignment but for you to show off your critical thinking skills.  The case is designed to contain numerous types of illicit reasoning on both sides.


  1. Use Judge Schwebel’s Summation and Charge to the Jury as a guide. 
  2. You should include in your account all of the witnesses as well as the Defense attorney and District (State) attorney. 
  3. Identify weaknesses within your own position (thus avoid the appearance giving a Strawman).  For example, if you think the verdict should be guilty, identify weaknesses with your side. 
    • The trick, and this is important, is that you explain why the weaknesses of your position is not enough to consider a change in verdict (thus, you provide both sides – think Chapter 16.

  4. This project has a minimum word count of is a  1.500 words (i.e., 250 words equals 1 page double spaced).  This does not count a title page. 
  5. The more you can directly and conspicuously use terms, notions, ideas from the assigned chapters to support your reasoning the stronger your project.  Failure to do so, will result in failure. 
    • To help insure your success and demonstrate your knowledge, use this shortened form of in-text citation: (Chapter #, page #).
    • You want to demonstrate the use of content from each chapter covered.  The way to indicate that would be through in-text citation

  6. You are free to write the project in any form: a dialogue with other jury members, a speech, an analysis of each individual, an essay….  As long as it is legible, understandable, and fulfills the above requirements.

The project grade is competitive in the following sense.  20% of the students will set the standard for an A.  Grades will then be based on how close a project compares to top projects.  It is, of course, possible, that all students receive an A because all projects demonstrate mastery. 

 It is also possible that everyone fail should it happen that (a) no one submits a project (b) all projects are less that 1,250 words or (c) no project contains a citation reference to demonstrate understanding of the text.  Though possible, with this class the evidence suggests it is quite unlikely.

I will offer the materials and please read and use other chapters if necessary.

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